AIDS Prevention and Services: Community Based Research

By Johannes P. Van Vugt | Go to book overview

ducted ( Bletzer 1990:176). Postsurvey data can provide comparable material to survey data previously collected (e.g., from summer to summer in Michigan) and would enable an assessment of the extent to which knowledge about AIDS has increased among farm workers. This has implications as an evaluation of the effectiveness of the AIDS education strategy that is being implemented as it is being revised in the camps, as well as the impact of public health information accessed by migrant farm workers from the media and other sources, such as school programs and clinics.

Another area that needs more study is the parameters that shape the context in which discourse occurs among farm workers, since discoursecentered communication is a primary influence on learning processes. We have assumed in our program that AIDS-relevant discourse occurs, indeed, is furthered, through summer participation in agricultural labor in Michigan. What happens during the other months of the year and the extent to which activity in Michigan increases (or impedes) AIDS knowledge would contribute to our understanding of the role of communication styles and discourse genres in the learning process.


SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

The program described in this chapter employed anthropological research for planning and evaluation. Discursive notation of group-agent interaction was incorporated into the AIDS education presentations and outreach, not only for the "talk" that occurred in focus groups and discussions between participants and educator but also for overt responses (reactions and comments) and comments to video content by the (migrant) audience. Data collected in interviews provided additional support for the interactional assessment and clarified what is most salient in the migrant experience in relation to concerns of serious illness and its prevention.

Working with a population that is transient and allegedly experiences a disorganization in its life-style has led to a search for research methods that can be incorporated directly into the program, as it is being implemented, in order to assess the relevancy of the curriculum and the manner in which information on AIDS and HIV infection is being presented in the camps. Careful selection of materials for use in the education process is necessary as an aspect of (administrative) planning, as is a systematic assessment of materials as they are being implemented, as an aspect of (ethnographic) evaluation.


NOTES

Portions of this paper were read at the Anthropology Section Session at the Annual Meeting of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts and Letters, Ypsilanti, Michigan, March 15, 1991.

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